This is a guest blog post by Suzanna Starr Williams. She is the owner and operator of Southern Starr Bakery in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
You know that old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, in my case it’s taken me the better of 6 years to make my lemonade, but I’ve finally gotten those lemons juiced and the mixture is coming along. With time, I will venture to say it will even be outstanding!
I was in a serious car accident which resulted in 9 months of physical therapy, spinal injections, and a lifetime of pain. It limited the jobs I could do, since my scheduling was often difficult because of the limitations and additional breaks. But in 2014, I started a new job that I was thrilled about. It was with a new local semi-pro football team that had approached me to be their operations. My previous work with the Lexington Horsemen was the highlight of my work experiences, a job I loved coming into every day. When the team finally folded, it was one of the saddest days of my life. This new opportunity was a dream job come true… until 6 months later. After the third game of the season one of the owners embezzled the money from the bank account, leaving everyone (employees, ticket holders, sponsors, advertisers) high and dry. I have never recovered the thousands of dollars that was owed me, but even worse I have not found gainful employment since. Every position to which I applied, I was considered either over or under qualified. The brunt of all this fell on my husband, who ended up shouldering the totality of financial debt on his own. He did it though, with no complaint, bless him. But that didn’t make me feel any better. My emotional state took a nose dive, and I was plagued with feelings of unworthiness, futility and just outright dread of having to face the world daily. It was a very trying time, but with the love and support of God and my family I managed to get through it.
In 2016, at the insistent urging of nearly everyone I know, I looked into opening a bakery. It was something I knew, I’d been baking for many, many years and everyone loved the goods I baked up fresh for them. Sadly, the realization of that dream never coming to fruition came right about the time I realized I was not going to be able to get a loan when I had no steady source of income. So I thought, I could do it from my home… but no, with the restrictions on home-based processing that wasn’t going to be happening either. While I was pretty heartbroken, I just figured it was something that wasn’t meant to be and let the idea go.
I did keep dreaming though, and hoping some day it would come to be. One day in early fall of 2018, I happened across the website for Kentucky Home Bakers. I read about House Bill 263 and saw how they had fought so hard to push it through legislation… my heart literally leapt in my chest. I read and re-read the information over and over, through teary eyes. My dream was finally given wings, and that lemonade was about to get some serious stirring!
So late in 2018, just before the holiday madness began, I decided to take a leap of faith and opened Southern Starr Bakery out of my home. Did I expect to have people knocking on my door the next day? No. But due to some amazing work from some very diligent folks I can now help provide for my family once again. The passing of House Bill 263 was so much more important than some realize; it broke through obstacles that would otherwise allow hard-working people to make some much needed money. Because of the money I made during the Holiday season, I was able to buy gifts for my grandchildren… that may seem trivial to some, but it filled my heart with such joy! I felt empowered again, I felt worthy, and I had hope for the future. For the first time in many years, I had a sense of purpose again and a job I love coming in to every day.
God bless all those who made this possible! From the founders of the bill, those who pushed for its passage, to the legislators who voted it into law… you have my deepest gratitude and utmost respect for fighting the good fight on our behalf.
By the way, lemonade is now being served!
Suzanna Starr Williams
Southern Starr Bakery, Nicholasville, KY
Find Southern Starr Bakery on Facebook by clicking the photo below!